Field Notes on Language and Kinship - $150

Paperback edition - $14.95

Explore the artworks

Mormon Artists Group is pleased to announce the publication of

Field Notes on Language and Kinship

by Tyler Chadwick

artworks by Susan Krueger-Barber

A landmark publication appeared in 2011, an anthology of contemporary Mormon poetry. It was an ambitious undertaking that, it can be argued, is among the most important books about Mormonism to appear in the first years of the century. Unknown to many, even inside the Church, Mormon poets have recently become regular contributors to the leading poetry publications in the country. Their poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Slate, The Southern Review, among many, many others. The award-winning anthology, Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, presented 82 poets’ new works in its 522 pages.

The editor for Fire in the Pasture was Tyler Chadwick, a young scholar and poet from Idaho. After the publication of the anthology, Mormon Artists Group approached Chadwick to write a book to answer a simple question: Why does poetry matter to you? He responded with Field Notes on Language and Kinship. It is Mormon Artists Group’s 24th project.

The book is a direct response to the works in Fire in the Pasture. Chadwick reacts to them in several ways, and these form the content of Field Notes on Language and Kinship. For example: an image from a poem reminds him of another poem he’s read—and Chadwick makes an academic connection between them; a line from a poem recalls an experience he’s had in his personal life (or foretells one he will have)—and he captures the moment as a memoirist; a passage from a poem will cause him to place the idea in a larger context of thought—he becomes an essayist; or an excerpt from a poem will inspire him to write a poetic response—and he uses the lines as a starting point to create his own poetry. Field Notes on Language and Kinship is about the author’s relationship to poetry as a scholar, advocate, and artist.

Field Notes on Language and Kinship is published as a two-volume edition. The anthology, Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, is rebound in hardcover; and Chadwick’s original volume is bound as a companion work. The two are presented in a slipcase.

One of Chadwick’s sources of inspiration is visual art, and Field Notes on Language and Kinship includes eight artworks created especially for this project by Susan Krueger-Barber. Just as Chadwick’s text brings multiple disciplines of literature to bear, Krueger-Barber’s artworks are multi-disciplinary, mixed media works. Each of them combines photography, painting, and collage (using fragments torn from a copy of Fire in the Pasture). For the limited edition volume, the artworks were digitally scanned, reproduced, and bound into the book.

Excerpts from Field Notes on Language and Kinship

As a result, I became less interested in just interpreting poems and more concerned with representing the different ways living with poetry affects how I think about and interact with others and the world. For example, in February 2011 as I stood in the vet’s office over the still warm body of our family dog, saying goodbye after an overdose of anesthesia had released him from the disabling influence of a brain tumor, a phrase from Neil Aitken’s poem “Burials” (Fire 3) came to mind: “as if knowing the exact shade the dead see.” As I recalled the phrase, it gave shape to my encounter with Bosley, prompting me to look into his empty eyes, to wonder what shadows remained there from our life together. Neil’s phrase further gave shape—and a title—to my meditation on that encounter with loss.

My experience with the language of “Burials” (as with the language of other poems) suggests how the language we read can sometimes resurface during and have an influence on the course of our real-world relationships. But in my encounter with S.P. (Shawn) Bailey’s “Ripple Rock” (Fire 27) the order of influence was reversed. As I attended to the poem, its opening line, “This is where my mind wanders,” called forth the place where my mind wanders most: while I’m on the road, running, my body keeping time with the earth’s movements. I explore this place in a reflection on how I used to run in the early morning, which leads into an exploration of Shawn’s poem (included here as “Pooling and surging and purling and cleaving and cleaving—”). So while Neil’s language came to mind during an encounter with mortality, Shawn’s evoked another such encounter in my mind, an encounter that has helped me give shape to the significance running has had in my life as a means to clarify the relationship between my body and my mind.

Across the Hokianga

(February–March 2000)

crimson-honey sky

across the Hokianga

crimson-honey tide

but no waka to pierce

the bay’s narrow hips


crimson-honey sand

across the Hokianga

crimson-honey sky

but only one cumulus

to lick the bay’s narrow tongue


crimson-honey night

across the Hokianga

but no moon

to walk empty shores

sip crimson-honey tea

The Artists

Tyler Chadwick is an award-winning poet and editor who lives in Pocatello, Idaho.  He is a PhD candidate in English at Idaho State University and has taught literature and writing for Idaho State and Brigham Young University–Idaho. His studies focus mainly on poetry (both written and in performance), Mormon literature and culture, rhetoric, the body, performance ethnography and pedagogy, and online teaching and learning. He has had poetry, essays, and book reviews published in various magazines and journals, including Metaphor, Dialogue, Irreantum, Salome, Mormon Artist, Black Rock & Sage, Wilderness Interface Zone, Victorian Violet Press Poetry Journal, Psaltery & Lyre, The Likewise Folio, and BYU Studies.

Chadwick edited the anthology, Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets, which won the 2011 Association for Mormon Letters Award in Poetry; and he is the poetry editor for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

Susan Krueger-Barber is an artist whose work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, in Minnesota, and Utah. Recent exhibitions include a solo show, “Jacaranda,” at SPACE, Los Angeles, and two group shows in Salt Lake City, “More Love Hours” (Alice Gallery), and “Tin” (Rio Gallery). A graduate in Painting from Brigham Young University, Krueger-Barber is also an award-winning filmmaker. Her paintings are often about motherhood, including the struggles of post-partum depression, miscarriage, nursing, and separation anxiety. That is, they are about contemporary life,  told passionately and boldly.

Limited Edition

Field Notes on Language and Kinship is published as a two-volume set, 9” x 6” x 3”. The two works (Fire in the Pasture and Field Notes on Language and Kinship) are bound in silk and hand-pounded amate barkskin paper made by Otomi Indians of Mexico. The artworks by Krueger-Barber have been scanned and reproduced in Field Notes on Language and Kinship. The books are presented in a slipcase covered in brown Asahi silk from Japan, published in a limited edition of 25 copies, signed and numbered by the artists.

The original artworks by Susan Krueger-Barber are available for sale. They are created with collaged, torn poems from Fire in the Pasture, acrylic paint, photography, transparencies, and color images provided by the author and other sources, 18” x 24”. They can be viewed from our website. Field Notes on Language and Kinship is also available as a commercial paperback, 246 pages ( (Note that Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-first Century Mormon Poets is available separately as a commercial paperback on $27.00, 522 pages, Peculiar Pages, publisher.)